Renato Ganoza for EF Zhengzhou, 2009
Explain that this is a picture of a professor (the interviewer) and three Chinese students\u2013 a boy, a girl, and another boy.
The professor will ask the three students what their hobbies and interests are.
What did your student answer, when you asked the same question? Explain that the professor has likely heard the same
tired, boring answers a million times. How many students does the professor interview in one day? Ten? Twenty? More?
Your student probably gets the picture. They need to say something different and memorable\u2013 even to the seemingly
\u2018simple\u2019 questions. First impressions are important. A student who has put thought and effort into the \u2018easy\u2019 questions
leaves a good impression.
So how can students set themselves apart from the crowd? Easy\u2013 choose one or two hobbies that they really put a lot
of time into, and talk about those.
Which sounds better?
Liking something isn\u2019t impressive. I like lots of things. I like ice cream and puppies and women. I don\u2019t brag about it. Your
student should do their best to find something that theydo.
Academic Interview Training \u2013 Lesson Three, \u201cShaping Your Interview\u201d
It\u2019s rare for interviewers to read questions off a sheet without taking student responses into account. That\u2019s the point of
the oral interview: it gives interviewers a better idea of who you are.
Clever students can manipulate an interview in their favor.
The three shapes of an interview.
\u201cI like basketball and
games and reading
\u201cI like watching TV and
listening to music and
\u201cI like spending time
with friends and
watching TV. I like
Can your student guess what the students will
answer?Pr obably .
\u201cHobbies? Every weekend I volunteer at a
hospital. My mother is a doctor, and I love
the feeling of helping people. I want to be a
doctor when I grow up, too.\u201d
\u201cHobbies? I like to sleep. Chinese students
have a lot of homework. I\u2019m always tired.I
really like watching TV, too.\u201d